Results tagged ‘ Bruce Seid ’
Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid confirmed today that the team is losing another of its top scouts. Assistant scouting director Ray Montgomery is leaving the Brewers to become the D-backs’ amateur scouting director.
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Family matters pulled John Halama away from the Majors three years ago. He’s hoping the Brewers offer an opportunity to get back.
The 37-year-old left-hander earlier this week agreed to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Halama has pitched in 262 Major League games in nine seasons for seven teams but he hasn’t been in a big league camp since 2006, with Baltimore.
“I’m really thankful that they are giving me an opportunity,” Halama said from the Dominican Republic, where he was set to make his eighth winter league start on Wednesday night. “The way that it was explained to me was that I would come into camp with an opportunity to win a big league job, so I have to be ready to go.
“That’s all I’ve ever asked, let me have an opportunity to open up some eyes. I’m really excited to get back in the game. I’ve had some personal things go on in my life that affected me and got me out of the game, but now I’m clear-minded and I’m ready to go. I’m getting a second chance, and I’m fully aware of that.”
If Halama wins a spot on the Major League roster he would draw a $450,000 salary. Otherwise, he would go to Triple-A Nashville as insurance for the Brewers, who fell out of contention in 2009 when they failed to fill spots in the rotation caused by injuries to Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan.
Halama began last season in the independent Atlantic League and was 8-1 with a 1.96 ERA in 69 innings, drawing the interest of the Braves. At Triple-A Gwinnett, Halama was 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA in 13 starts and three relief appearances. He had a 3.69 ERA in his starts.
Pitching for Aguilas in the Dominican Winter League, Halama entered his start Wednesday night 4-2 with a 1.64 ERA. In seven starts and 44 innings, he had 24 strikeouts and three walks. Both of the losses were in 1-0 games, according to Halama’s agent, Joe Rosario.
Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid and assistant scouting director Ray Montgomery happened to be in the Dominican Republic last week so they stopped by to watch Halama work six innings in a win over a Licey lineup that featured eight hitters with at least one game of Major League experience. Halama allowed one run on seven hits.
“He did what you would expect from a guy with experience and know-how,” Seid said. “He pitched to his strengths with the ability to make adjustments. That’s what experienced pitchers do. He’s in good condition and his arm worked well, and experience takes over for those guys. It’s better than a Triple-A guy who’s 32, 33 but doesn’t have the big league experience.”
Familiarity helped foster the deal. Halama pitched in Oakland in 2003 under now-Brewers manager Ken Macha and pitching coach Rick Peterson. Before that he pitched four seasons with the Mariners while Chris Bosio was a roving pitching coach for Seattle. Bosio is now a Brewers advance scout.
Halama said he planned to make two more starts for Aguilas after Thanksgiving before returning to the U.S. He turns 38 on Feb. 22, two days after the formal date for Brewers pitchers and catchers to report for Spring Training.
“I know it’s going to be different,” Halama said. “The baseball part is probably going to feel weird because I haven’t been in big league camp in so long, but I’m positive that I’ll fit in. It’s going to be a little foreign to me, but not too foreign.”
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The Brewers made Kyle Heckathorn an offer he just couldn’t refuse.
Heckathorn, a big right-hander from Kennesaw State University and the 47th overall pick in last month’s First-Year Player Draft, passed a physical at Miller Park on Saturday and finalized his first professional contract. It includes a $776,000 signing bonus, plus a rare invitation to big league camp next spring.
The Brewers don’t extend those invitations lightly to recent Draft picks. Matt LaPorta, Milwaukee’s first-round pick in 2007, wasn’t promised a spot, though he later got one. Rickie Weeks, the team’s top pick — second overall — in 2003, got an invitation, but that was because he signed a Major League contract. Prince Fielder was invited to camp after the Brewers selected him in the first round in 2002.
“Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee's general manager] doesn’t easily give those out,” Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid said. “In this case, we felt that with what Kyle brings — his size, he’s mature, he’s smart — this was an ideal situation.”
So Heckathorn, 21, who could have returned to college, instead joined a select list of Brewers Draft picks who made quick ascents to the Majors.
“They came up with the money, and then the invite to Spring Training, that was the capper,” said Heckathorn, who planned to splurge on a new pick-up truck. “That’s all I needed. They compromised, I compromised. Now it’s time to go. It’s time to start my professional career.”
He will report to rookie-level Helena on Monday. Heckathorn figures he’ll need a week or two to get back into pitching shape.
“I’ve been running and throwing a lot,” he said, “trying to keep my arm strength up.”
Heckathorn went to Milwaukee in the supplemental phase of the Draft’s first round, the team’s second selection in the Draft behind first-rounder and fellow right-hander Eric Arnett. Like Arnett, the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Heckathorn is a power arm coming off his junior season in college. Club officials were not shy in the weeks leading up to the Draft in saying they were high on Heckathorn, who can reach 99 mph with his fastball but sits more comfortably in the 94-97 mph range, and also features a hard slider.
He was 4-1 with a 3.44 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 86 1/3 innings for Kennesaw State this season, including a 15-strikeout game. After the Draft, Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid said that the team intended to introduce Heckathorn to Minor Leagues as a starter.
“This is the best place for me,” Heckathorn said. “I’m lucky they got me and I’m fortunate to be a Brewer.”
With Heckathorn in the fold, 27 of the Brewers’ 53 selections are under contract including 14 of the first 17 picks.
Only one of the team’s first six picks remains unsigned ahead of the Aug. 17 deadline: University of Tennessee outfielder and fellow supplemental first-round pick Kentrail Davis, a Scott Boras client.
“Any time you’re dealing with Scott Boras, it’s always going to be a drawn-out situation,” Seid said. “But that’s not a negative; we just know that. We have a relationship with him. We’ll just continue to take steps forward.”
Davis was sophomore-eligible, meaning he could return to Tennessee for two more seasons.
Seid said the Brewers were still working to sign fourth-round pick Brooks Hall, a right-handed pitcher, and Florida State University outfielder D’Vontrey Richardson, the team’s fifth-round selection.
Thursday marked the beginning of baseball’s international signing period, and the Brewers made a splash by coming to terms with outfielder Jose Pena, a highly-regarded 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic.
Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid confirmed the deal before boarding a return flight to the U.S. He would not discuss Pena’s reported $400,000 signing bonus, which would be short of the club-record bonus for an international player that went to right-hander Rolando Pascual in 2005. Pascual received $710,000.
The Brewers also came to terms with 17-year-old Dominican right-hander Jean Capellan, Seid said. It’s believed that Capellan received a five-figure bonus.
The team is also being “aggressive” toward signing several other Latin American prospects, Seid said. When it’s all said and done, Pena will be the highest-profile International pick-up.
“It’s official. He signed,” Seid said. “We’re real happy that we got Jose Pena. We’ve been watching him for some time and had him at a couple of workouts, and [Brewers general manager] Doug Melvin was down here and saw him. We’ve been really able to cover the bases on Jose Pena.”
Some steps remain. Pena must pass a physical, plus Major League Baseball’s official background check that verifies players’ ages. Pena just turned 16 in March, and Seid expected no problems in that process.
Pena, 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, is a right-handed hitter described by Seid as a polished hitter with power and projectability.
“He’s a great ‘make-up’ kid,” Seid said. “He’s someone who looks you in the eye and takes instruction well. Overall, the package is good in terms of ability, power, athleticism and make-up.”
Capellan is a right-hander who reaches 92 mph with his fastball and features a hard breaking ball.
“He has an aggressive mound presence,” Seid said. “I liked what I saw from him. He wasn’t considered a top-tier prospect, but to our organization he’s got potential to do something from a pitching standpoint.”
Both Pena and Capellan will probably begin their professional careers at the Brewers new facility in the Dominican Republic. They co-opted an academy beginning this spring with the Orioles.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin confirmed a report that he sent a scout to watch free agent right-hander Pedro Martinez work out in the Dominican Republic on Friday.
The Brewers sent two scouts, in fact. But they never saw Pedro pitch.
“This was twice [this week],” said Dick Groch, the Brewers director of pro scouting. “The second time we sent people there, his publicist was there and the publicist says, ‘He’s on his way.’ He was already 45 minutes late. … We had other workouts to do. We can’t wait forever. We [told the scout], ‘Go. You can’t stay there forever.’”
The scouts were Bruce Seid, Milwaukee’s amateur scouting director, and Fernando Arango, the club’s Latin American coordinator. They were already in Santo Domingo for a series of showcases with amateur players ahead of the July 2 international signing date. Melvin, who is on the lookout for pitching help, figured it made sense to swing by for a look at Martinez.
Groch’s understanding was that the handful of scouts from other teams left at the same time. That contradicted a report from Hoy, a major newspaper in the Dominican Republic, that said Martinez threw 75 pitches Friday at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo in front of reps from Yankees, Rangers, D-backs, Nationals, Cubs, Indians and Angels.
A separate report from SI.com’s Jon Heyman that said six teams, including the Brewers, watched Martinez “perform a pitching demonstration.” ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote on his blog that, “At least several teams walked away from Pedro Martinez’s throwing session unimpressed and uninterested in signing him.”
The Brewers didn’t walk away unimpressed, because they never saw Martinez at all. Martinez’s longtime agent, Fernando Cuza, was not immediately available to clarify his client’s situation.
“He might have worked out at a different time,” Melvin said. “We don’t know that. All I know from our people is he wasn’t there when we were told to be.”
The Brewers, who are operating with four starters at the moment but will need to add a fifth on Saturday, have not ruled out Martinez if he comes at the right price. But they are not going to jump in and make an offer if they can’t see him throw, Melvin said.
“I don’t know what the demands are, but it doesn’t matter what they are,” Melvin said. “If you can’t watch him throw, it doesn’t matter what his demands are. Would you go put an offer on a house without looking at the house?”
The Brewers have been actively scouting the top talent available in the Dominican Republic, where young players aren’t subject to the just-completed First-Year Player Draft. They have made splashy signings there before, including Roque Mercedes in 2004 and Rolando Pascual and Wily Peralta in 2005. Mercedes has a 0.95 ERA in 21 relief appearances at advanced Class A Brevard County, and Peralta has a 3.68 ERA in 13 appearances this season at Class A Wisconsin. Pascual is working with the Brewers-Orioles co-op affiliate in the Dominican Republic.
Might they add another player after July 2?
“We’re looking at it,” Melvin said.
Doug Melvin’s son has already followed dad into the scouting ranks, and perhaps Gord Ash’s boy is on the same path.
Twelve-year-old Aaron Ash, the son of the Brewers’ assistant general manager, announced 16 of the Brewers’ 20 picks on Day 3 of the First-Year Player Draft, which is conducted via conference call with Major League Baseball and all 30 clubs. As is so often the case in baseball, it was all about superstition.
The younger Ash was just eight years old when he made his Draft debut, announcing the Brewers’ selection of right-hander Omar Aguilar in the 30th round in 2005. Aguilar has turned into a quality prospect who was added to Milwaukee’s 40-man roster last winter.
“We figured we would try to ride Aaron’s luck some more,” Brewers scouting director Bruce Seid said. “Aguilar has been a good pick for us.”
Amanda Kropp, an administrator in the Brewers’ scouting department, made most of the Brewers’ other picks. She was hard on herself Wednesday after mispronouncing one of the names on Milwaukee’s list.
No biggie, Seid said.
“We have a good time in our Draft room,” Seid said. “No nerves, no pressure. We all laugh and make jokes and have fun with each other.”